OK! If you’ve been around lately you know that I am singing the praises of my most recent accessory for my Janome sewing machine – the free motion couching foot (truthfully, check out the other projects I’ve done HERE)! 🙂
I *KNEW* I wanted to make some new holiday pillows, and I also knew that I wanted to make these soft and plush and cuddly – sooooooooo enter in some chenille yarn to make the yummiest looking candy cane pillows for your holiday home decor! 🙂 WEEEEE!
- Yarn in your fave candy cane colors
- Coordinating thread
- Your fave Janome sewing machine and Janome free motion couching foot
- 1/4 yard of a “heftier” fabric – I used some white thinner canvas material
- Fabric marker or pencil
- Claw clips or straight sewing pins
- A bag of poly-fil or your fave stuffing
**Just a note about your fabric – as noted above, I am using a thinner canvas material. This exact fabric isn’t necessary, but you will want to choose something that has enough thickness that can withstand the “weight” of the yarn + thread as it gets sewn to the fabric. I have found that regular cotton fabric isn’t heavy enough to support the weight!!!
A note about the pattern, feel free to enlarge or shrink your pattern depending on your desired size of your pillow!
You will tape your 4 pages together to make one larger pattern. I also decided to number the stripes so that it was easy to see the order without having to guess before cutting the stripes apart.
2. Cut out 2 of your candy canes from your main fabric (the heftier fabric). Then mark off your striped area (these are to give you guidelines on where to sew the stripes with the yarn)….I did this by cutting apart the stripes (numbered so that I didn’t get them out of order) and then tracing the stripe lines onto the cut out candy cane shapes!
3. Begin sewing with your couching foot! You will first want to prep your machine by replacing your “regular foot” with your couching foot!
First, make sure that you have already attached the plastic #1 or #2 to the couching foot holder depending on the weight of your yarn. (You can reference your enclosed instructions – I used the larger one, #2)
Lower the feed dogs – you can consult your manual or google your exact Janome machine to get the manual. The 9450 has a bar on the right side of the machine by the on/off button that lowers and raises the feed dogs.
Turn your machine on 🙂
4. Set your stitch to zig zag stitch (you may notice with your machine….it does with mine……that the “kind” of foot holder is already recognized since you’ve already installed it, so only a few options for stitching are available with the feed dogs lowered. Either way, choose your zig zag stitch on your machine.
TIP: Make sure that your zig zag stitch isn’t set to any wider than 1.5mm (this is in the display screen or by lowering/raising the numbers) 🙂
Run your yarn into the small hole of the couching foot to get started.
Give your couching a test on a test scrap of fabric to be sure it’s ready to go! 🙂
5. Now it’s time to get stitching!!!!!
This is the fun part! Just give it a go and pay attention as you go so that you can see your candy cane come to life! 🙂
Here are some tips that I find helpful when using your couching foot:
- To begin, I just anchored my stitch with a anchor stitch a few times before I got going wth the zig zag (my machine has a button to push for this)! 🙂
- The pace of your stitching is KEYYYY! Meaning, how fast or slow that you move your fabric through the machine…..if you go to fast, the zig zag stitch won’t attach very well to the yarn and it seems to pull away more. If you go too slow, then the yarn seems to pile up and get jammed in the machine. Although I did find that if I error on the side of slower, that works better. But practice this to get your own rhythm!
- Outline each color section first and then fill in. I found this to be SOOOO helpful so that your lines are crisp and neat…..kinda like painting!
- Be sure your yarn has slack to move – if it gets stuck or snagged, the zig zag stitch won’t be able to “pick up” the yarn because it will be too taught. I decided to loop my yarn over the back of my machine (or tucked “behind” the little bobbins holder for winding bobbins on top of the machine). Just be sure it can easily be pulled from the skein when stitching.
- Be sure to leave about 1/4” around the very outside edge clear (the “J” shape) of the candy cane to leave for stitching the pillow closed (if you accidentally add some yarn too close to the edges, no big deal, it may just be a bit trickier to stitch all together) 🙂
- To stop sewing, simply lift your presser foot, cut your thread and cut your yarn as needed.
- Each time I had to refill my bobbin, I would cut the thread but NOT cut the yarn……I was able to easily pull out the bobbin and retread it, then retreaded the machine and pickup where I left off with the yarn by sticking the yarn back into the couching foot hole. Not necessary, just cuts down on all the little strings! 🙂
- Go slow and HAVE FUN! This is so much like painting because you are in FULL control of where the yarn/thread go and you can fill in and draw anything and everything you want as it comes to life right in front of your eyes!
6. When your candy cane front and back are fully “couched” with yarn, it’s time to stitch them together. Simply put both sides of the candy cane right sides together and pin in place. You will stitch a 1/4” seam allowance all the way around the outer edge, leaving a gap large enough to stick your hand in to stuff! 🙂
Make sure to clip your edges up to the seam (without clipping the seam itself) so that when you turn your candy cane right side out all of the curves are nice and curvy without being bunchy!
7. Turn your candy cane pillow right side out and stuff it with your poly fil! Be sure to stuff it firmly (not sooooo plump) but fill it well so that you don’t loose the “J” shape of the candy cane! Then use your needle and thread to stitch your opening closed – I do this using a ladder stitch so that it’s invisible and hides right into the original seam allowance! 🙂